Woman dies after being hit by stray bullet in desert

A woman who was hit by a stray bullet during a family outing in Buckeye Sunday has died from her injuries.Buck...

Posted: Jan 16, 2018 5:04 AM
Updated: Jan 16, 2018 5:04 AM

A woman who was hit by a stray bullet during a family outing in Buckeye Sunday has died from her injuries.

Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall said the area in the desert area north of Interstate 10 and Miller Road is a popular area where on Sunday, there were many people out doing some recreational shooting.

It is so popular that both officers with the Buckeye Police Department and the Bureau of Land Management had officers in the area keeping an eye out on the activity.

Hall said around 2 p.m., a pickup truck sped toward a group of their officers. In the bed of the pickup was a woman had a group performing chest compressions on her. She had been shot in the chest.

Witnesses told officers they had been out in the area when they heard three distinct shots, their friend was hit in the chest by one of the bullets. They did not know where the bullet was shot from.

She was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Buckeye police said on Monday that the victim died from her injuries.

The incident is under investigation.

Gunfire is a common sound you'll hear in almost every direction in the desert area west of Buckeye.

"Not only bullets, you hear pipe bombs, you hear all kinds of stuff out here. I can hear them from my house on Watson," said Joe Sebastini, who has lived in the area for a few years and rides here often but says the shooting is starting to get a bit out of hand.

"This area, I need to try and stay away from because there's just so much craziness going on out here."

Police say there were hundreds of people out shooting Sunday afternoon when that woman was shot.

"The biggest challenge we're facing in this investigation, right now is that there are hundreds of shooters out here and there were hundreds of shooters just south of where the incident occurred, which is a 1-mile stretch of area. In trying to determine trajectory, and actually the round that hit her, it's gonna be a very challenging investigation at this point," said Hall.

Some people that are familiar with the area were shocked but not surprised.

"It's something that would have been a matter of time, not if but when it was going to happen," said Hector Guzman, who has come to the area a couple of times for target shooting.

Chief Hall says this isn't the first time something like this has happened.

"This is the worst thing you can do is come out to an uncontrolled environment like the desert where you have multiple shooters out here who have varying levels of skill and engage in target practice. This isn't the first incident we've had up here where people have been hit."

For people like Sebastini, he says he is heeding the warning.

"It does definitely scare us and we try and stay clear."

That area is county land, but Buckeye police say because of all the incidents they are now conducting joint operations with the Bureau of Land Management to help curb some of these occurrences.

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